Car Free Living


Okay okay moving on from snowy bird houses, it is full on bike season crazy times in here, we celebrated our 6 year anniversary last month, hosted a Bike to Work Week breakfast AND just yesterday got interviewed for a prestigious local paper. Clarifying a couple of things: did not buy the shop, opened it from scratch, and some days we sell WAAAAAY more than 1 bike. But some days we sell none. Also they did not use the answer to What Sets Your Shop Apart question? (answer: Shop Fish). So without further adieu, here is something new to read on this 6 year old blog!

Bike shop business continues for 6 years BY Grace Pateras | MAY 14, 2015

Each week, The Daily Iowan will provide an in-depth look at a local business.

All three full-time staffers at 30th Century Bicycle, 312 E. Prentiss St., ride their bikes to work each day.

The independent shop sells new and used bikes, as well as accessories. Staffers also offer repairs to customers, the most popular being brake issues, shifting adjustments, and flat tires.

Owner Steve Goetzelman bought the shop six years ago. He said the bike demand in Iowa City is high, and he doesn’t expect it to drop.

“Bikes are here now, and they’re never going away,” he said. “People talk about if they can design a better car or the energy source of the future, but I just think bikes are always going to be there.”

On a typical day, the shop will sell one bike.

The most popular are used bikes, and sell between $200 and $500, which is a good price, Goetzelman said.

Approximately 40 to 50 bikes are on display typically, and fewer than 10 of those are used bikes because of the high demand.

One of the shop’s employees, Mary Coats, is one of the rare female mechanics in the bicycle industry.

She joined the 30th Century Bicycle team two years ago after disliking her previous experiences at bigger corporate shops.

“[Steve] doesn’t pressure us to upsell,” she said. “I like that I can focus on what’s the best fit for someone, and there’s no pressure to sell more stuff just to sell more stuff.”

Customers, Goetzelman said, are a mix between students and locals. The fall season is the busiest time of the year because of the dry weather — and students back in town for school.

However, Goetzelman said, other seasons are popular for customers as well.

“I think a lot more people are riding in the winter now than six years ago, which is great,” he said. “It’s always weather-dependent. This past winter was our busiest winter.”

Next door to the shop is Trumpet Blossom Café, 310 E. Prentiss St.

Owner Katy Meyer has known Goetzelman for many years, she said, and is happy to have him as a neighboring business.

“It’s fun to go over there and talk shop with him and talk to him about the ups and downs of running a small business,” Meyer said. “[Steve] is really dedicated to his job, and he’s there every day working hard.”

In addition, Meyer said Goetzelman is a customer at the café and comes in to replace light bulbs and perform other maintenance.

All employees at 30th Century Bicycle have different pasts with touring, racing, and biking in general. Their experiences make them good advisers, they said, to their customers.

“If you need advice on bikes, we’ve all been doing it for a long time. To get advice, it’s what we do,” Goetzelman said. “It’s how we get around. So we’re pretty good to talk to about it.”

I admit the first time I saw an Xtracycle FreeRadical I laughed at it, even the very idea of it. “Who wants to carry a cello on their bike” I think I said? I was firmly in the go fast by bike camp at that point, anything more than a messenger bag was too much. Well, one day I saw a friend riding to work with a radio playing NPR in his WALD basket, and then I went bike touring on an old Motobecane and then, eventually, I got a bike shop. And an Xtracycle! I found out that they really are amazing, and this blog is full of posts touting their many uses so I won’t waste time rehashing except to once again pay that ultimate compliment – Of my bikes the Xtracycle is the only one that would have to be replaced, and immediately, if it went missing.

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My first Xtracycle was the FreeRadical add on kit. Comes with everything you need to turn the bike you already have into a legit cargo bike. Xtracycle is now updating the design of the venerable old FreeRad and have stopped production of the old design. Which is what I wanted to tell you! Pictured is the last FreeRad we will ever have in stock. So if you have been on the fence about trying this whole cargo bike lifestyle out with an add on kit you better act soon, because that whole fence is about to get torn down.

Our floor is orange when it is not too dirty.

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So is this sweet old Schwinn Voyageur. The owner had us add some shine from Velo Orange and Nitto and a touch of honey from Brooks.

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Another orange one, brand new out of a really small box is this Dahon Speed D7 in tangerine. This is the folding bike we sell more than any other because it is simple, strong, and, well – it’s orange!

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In other upgrade news we have gotten in a couple more sets of Retroshifters, now called Gevenalle or however it’s pronounced – one set to help this tandem shift more reliably especially up front on it’s wide range crankset. The other set is for a Breadwinner Aufderheide we are building up, pictures to follow but a bike so nice gets it’s own blog post!

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Another cool upgrade shifter project. We took off dead Shimano trigger shifters here and replaced them with these nicely machined thumb shifters from Microshift. Strong light cheap – pick all three!

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Not orange but sure to make folks green with envy is this decked out Xtracycle Edgerunner with the full family package to haul kids and or cargo – plus a generator wheel powering front and back lights with a USB charger.

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Last thing orange and upgraded we made some major changes to our helmet / clothing / shoe corner. Stop in and take a seat – we do! Carpet is also quite comfortable for naps we hear.

 

First up – future event! Next Friday, March 7th The NCJC Youth Off Road Riders are having a Spring Benefit and Hand Built Bike Show at the Terry Trueblood pavilion. Silent auction. Live auction. Pretty hand made bikes to look at from the UI frame building class. Hope to see you there.

Presently, just want to mention that our Swing into Spring Sale is still on, and while the stock of hats is gone and gloves are low we still have a limited selection of studded tires in 26″ and 700c. And for good measure our remaining 2013 MASI road bikes are 15% off.

To the past then, this unforgettable winter weather will soon be forgotten as the cycling season proper is coming at us. Last night Bicyclists of Iowa City held their annual Bike Expo out at the North Ridge Pavillion in Coralville.

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Donnie and I loaded up a couple of cool bikes with cool stuff to show off and made the ride out to do just that.

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Xtracycle Edgerunner, Detroit Bikes A-Type, Ironweed BP bags, Selle Anatomica demo saddles, a full carbon MASI road frameset, some Arkel stuff, Retroshifters, Giro shoes and more.

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The Ironweed Dolliver trunk bag fits a 12 pack perfectly! We had a good time drinking a couple of those and chatting with folks, and the ride back was all tailwinds and smiles, like the Spring season just ahead.

As the temperatures fluctuate and the snow and ice unpredictably accumulate remember what Bob Harris said in that Japanese commercial. At least we think this is what he said, it was lost in translation.

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“For relaxing rides, make it studded tire times.”

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As ever we have a whole bunch here, and looking at the forecast they will be useful for relaxing your rides for a while yet.

Riding a bike through the winter is about more than just about the riding you know. Winter cyclists navigate more than just icy streets, bike racks and locks get plenty chilly, too. Wearing a liner glove with an outer glove that is big enough to fit over it keeps your fingers toasty while riding, and pulling off the outer glove and leaving the liner on gives dexterity and takes the bite out of the air while you secure your ride.

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After years of fighting to unwind stiff coiled cable locks we find that a U Lock is faster and easier and more secure to boot. But don’t forget your wheels, bolt ons or “locking” skewers let you rest easy that your bike will be just as you left it for that ride home.

Don’t get winter SAD – put a little garden on your bike rack!

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Speaking of winter, we keep expanding our stock of gloves, hats, Bar Mitts, generator hubs and lights, etc – plus we have our usual vast selection of studded tires bulked out like that kid in a Christmas Story. We are donating a couple, plus some lights as prizes for the UI winter bike challenge.

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So stay on your bike this winter, if you need advice or gear we can help, after all we will be out there in it two wheeling with you until the grass is green again.

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